Does New York City feel safer?
According to the NYPD, it should. The department said that the month of June was the safest for the city since 1994, as major felonies fell across the board.
NYPD Commissioner William Bratton held a press conference on July 1, in part to trumpet the numbers and in part to reassure New Yorkers that, going into the summer, the department is ready.
The NYPD as announced a summer staff-up program, which involved the participation of over 300 formerly desked members of the NYPD in high-crime precincts. Bratton said the additions were aiming at dealing “with the traditional spike that we anticipate in the summer months.”
Bratton also succeeded in convincing Mayor Bill de Blasio to add up to 1,300 new cops on the street, though the effects of those extra officers are months away.
The citywide dip in crime was evident on the Upper West Side, where CompStat numbers from the 24th Precinct through the first 28 days of June showed that the seven major felonies tracked by the department dropped 25% from a year ago, with the steepest declines occurring in rapes, which were down 75%, and burglary, which showed a 58% drop.
Upper West Siders said they could sense the drop in crime, though they were also leery about what could happen once the number of cops on the street grew.
“I don’t feel any safer than I did before [the launch of the NYPD’s summer programs],” said media analyst Jack Warren, 24, who was watchinng bikers zip past in Riverside Park. On the issue of the NYPD’s growing ranks, Warren said he’s worried about the response that may bring. “There’s a balance between crime and the police, and I feel that an increase in the number of cops on the street during a time when crime is lowering might instigate a rise in crime in the city,” he said.
Therapist Peter Goldman, pausing on a jog through Riverside Park, expressed his concern that an increased presence of the cops could unconsciously lend the city the identity of a police state.
Brand manager Rachel Mertensmeyer, 27, approached the hiring of an additional 1,297 cops enthusiastically, while acknowledging that she herself knew very little of the troubled dynamic between the average New Yorker and the police.